Contact:
John Caher or Janine Kava, Press Office
New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services
(518) 457-8828
john.caher@dcjs.ny.gov or (518) 225-5240 – cell
janine.kava@dcjs.ny.gov or (518) 275-5508 – cell

For immediate release: Monday, March 22, 2010

EmpireStat: Tracking Sex Offenders, Gun Crimes

Governor Paterson ’s government accountability initiative targets crime-fighting

Demonstrating its commitment to Governor David A. Paterson’s EmpireStat government accountability program, the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) today highlighted initiatives to ensure that sex offenders are effectively managed and that gun crime is properly addressed.

“DCJS subscribes to the maxim that what gets measured gets done,” said Acting Commissioner Sean M. Byrne. “We are proud to participate in Governor Paterson’s accountability initiative to make sure, especially in these difficult fiscal times, that the services provided to the taxpayers of New York State are effective and efficient. The Governor has made very clear to every member of his Administration that ‘business as usual’ just won’t cut it anymore.”

As part of Governor Paterson’s EmpireStat program – an innovative, data-driven system for improving government performance – DCJS will post up-to-date information on sex offender management and the state’s efforts to combat gun violence through Operation IMPACT, the premier crime-fighting program upstate and on Long Island, on the website of the Governor’s Office of Taxpayer Accountability (http://www.taxpayer.ny.gov/EmpireStat/index.htm).

Sex Offender Management

“Protecting citizens from sexual predators and effectively supervising convicted sex offenders in the community are high priorities of the criminal justice system,” Acting Commissioner Byrne said.

Under the Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) enacted in January 1996, convicted sex offenders must register with DCJS, verify their address at least annually and notify the agency within 10 days if they relocate.

DCJS ensures that information on sex offenders is posted promptly and accurately on a public website, helps citizens sign up for e-mail alerts whenever an offender moves into or out of an area of interest (http://www.criminaljustice.ny.gov/pio/press_releases/2010-3-15_pressrelease.html) and ensures compliance with registration requirements.

Only about 5,000 of the 30,000 individuals on the sex offender registry are under the supervision of parole or probation, so the state must rely on the offenders themselves to provide accurate and up-to-date information on their whereabouts.

If an offender fails to sign and return his or her annual address verification form within the allotted time frame, DCJS sends a notice to the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction where the sex offender resides indicating that he or she failed to comply with the annual verification requirements. DCJS also asks law enforcement to provide feedback on cases they investigate further.

Through EmpireStat, DCJS will provide the public with information on the success of its address verification initiatives. Most recent statistics show that 95.4 percent of registered sex offenders are accounted for by DCJS. For the remaining 4.6 percent, either a warrant had been issued or the outcome of the preliminary law enforcement investigation is pending. (http://www.taxpayer.ny.gov/assets/documents/EmpireStat/som.pdf)

Reducing Gun Crimes

Operation IMPACT is Governor Paterson’s program to combat violent and gun crime in the 17 upstate and Long Island counties that account for 80 percent of the crime outside New York City.

IMPACT focuses on reducing gun-related violence and the number of illegal guns through the cooperation of local police departments, county district attorney’s offices, the New York State Police, the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) and the United States Attorney’s office.

The IMPACT partners, who receive special aid through DCJS, are contractually required to provide the state with up-to-date data on local crime trends, including violent crime, crime committed with a firearm and other statistical information.

Through EmpireStat, DCJS will make available to the public up-to-date information on violent crimes involving firearms, shooting incidents involving death or injury, number of shooting victims, number of individuals killed through gun violence and data on the number of guns recovered and traced through the ATF. (http://www.taxpayer.ny.gov/assets/documents/EmpireStat/operationimpact.pdf)

“Firearm-related violent crime had been very stable the last three years, but we did see a increase of just under 1 percent for 2009 in the primary IMPACT jurisdictions,” Acting Commissioner Byrne said.. We are monitoring this closely and we are in contact with our local law enforcement partners, who are in the best position to analyze this data and formulate strategies.”

In addition to EmpireStat, Acting Commissioner Byrne noted that DCJS maintains a robust performance management system that includes data from nine agencies:  Board of Examiners of Sex Offenders; the State Commission of Correction; the Department of Correctional Services; DCJS; the Crime Victims Board; the Division of Parole; the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence; Division of Probation and Correctional Alternatives; and the Division of State Police. The annual Crimestat report is posted on the DCJS website. A report covering 2009 activities will be posted next month.

“Governor Paterson has always said that the most fundamental role of government is the protection of its citizenry, and that New York State will not shirk from that responsibility, despite the fiscal crisis,” Acting Commissioner Byrne said. “At the same time, the Governor is demanding that all of us in state government utilize our scarce resources in the most effective and economical manner possible. Through EmpireStat, New Yorkers can readily see if we are living up to the Governor’s mandate – and, if not, hold our feet to the fire.”